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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Your Feet

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Your Feet

There are more than 100 types of arthritis that can lead to joint pain and inflammation in your body. When it comes to your all-important feet and ankles, rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.5 million Americans

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, so our team at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle is focusing on foot and ankle arthritis in this month’s blog posts. Here are some important points we want to share about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and your feet.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition

Arthritis is a catchall term for conditions that lead to joint pain and inflammation. There are several categories of this disease, including degenerative, inflammatory or autoimmune, infectious, and metabolic. 

RA is an inflammatory or autoimmune form of arthritis. With RA, your body mistakenly attacks the synovial linings in your joints, which can lead to joint pain and inflammation.

For reasons we don’t fully understand, women are 2-3 times more likely than men to develop RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis typically involves feet and ankles

Rheumatoid arthritis favors certain areas of the body. Unfortunately, feet and ankles are common areas affected. In fact, about 90% of people with RA develop issues in their feet and ankles.

Unlike other forms of arthritis, RA typically affects both feet at the same time. The issue can start out minor — you might notice a little warmth, swelling, stiffness, or pain in your feet. You might also notice small nodules just beneath your skin on your feet or ankles.

These flare-ups can come and go without warning or explanation. Unfortunately, over time, the symptoms can become more constant and spread.

Rheumatoid arthritis is progressive

As we just mentioned, RA is a progressive disease. Within 10 years of diagnosis, you can encounter severe limitations with RA if it’s left untreated.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis is treatable

Schedule an appointment with us for foot and ankle problems as early as possible. That is especially true for RA. While we don’t have a cure for this autoimmune disorder, we can make a significant difference in its progression and outcome.

For example, if we intervene at the first signs of a problem with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologic response modifiers, there’s a good chance we can slow the progression and prevent your RA from becoming a long-term disability.

In addition to these treatments, we can also recommend an integrative and holistic approach that might include diet and exercise, which can help counter the effects of RA.

The bottom line is that RA can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Fortunately, we are here to help.

For expert management of rheumatoid arthritis in your feet and ankles, please contact one of our 13 locations in Tennessee to schedule an appointment with one of our foot health specialists.

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